Creating the Right
Environment is Key in Diagnosing Mental Illness
Diagnosing a patient with a mental health condition and encouraging
them to seek help can be a delicate matter for physicians. A
patient’s willingness to seek treatment is often affected by the
way the physician approaches the situation. In addition, patients
demonstrate greater confidence and increased adherence to treatment
regimes when their physician is sensitive to their needs and
To create the best environment for success when diagnosing a
patient with a mental illness, here are ten helpful tips that will
help primary care physicians help their patients:
- Take a breath.
Observe the patient’s non-verbal communication before discussing
the diagnosis. Sense their fear, anxiety and motivation level. This
will guide the process more effectively.
- Keep the patient
Talk about other patients who have been successful in receiving
- Reduce any shame or stigma
sometimes found in people’s perception of the world of
psychiatry.Speak often from the biochemical perspective.
Talk to the patient about mental health concerns as you would any
- Speak naturally.
Avoid scary terms or medical jargon the patient may not
- Make time.
Questions and answers are important at this time. Try to be in the
moment with the patient’s fear. It will drive a stronger
- Stay involved.
It’s important to refer the patient to a psychiatrist or other
specialist for appropriate treatment, but it’s also important that
the primary care physician remain involved. The patient will feel
more comfortable knowing the doctor they’re already familiar with
will be a part of the treatment team.
- Encourage a support
To ensure a smooth transition, encourage the patient to include
family members in the treatment plan.
- Education is key.
Provide the patient with brochures, pamphlets and/or videos about
the diagnosis. Wekiva Springs Center and River Point Behavioral
Health can provide that information for you.
- Establish a mentor/sponsor
Ask successful patients to mentor/sponsor a newly diagnosed person.
Isolated patients are at greater risk than those connected and
inspired by others.
- Include Wekiva Springs Center
on your team.
Use Wekiva Springs Center for education and empowerment. Our
clinicians are skilled in all issues. They are an essential
part of your team. We can work with you and your patients